CLOSE
Original image

The Quick 10: 10 Mean Moms

Original image

It's almost Mother's Day, so of course everyone is talking about how great their moms are and what fabulous thing they can do to honor their moms. So I thought it would be a nice change of pace to talk about some notoriously crappy moms "“ mostly fictional, with two notable exceptions. Warning: Spoilers ahead!

carrie1. Margaret White, Carrie White's mother. You know, Carrie, the Stephen King character with telekinesis. If her fanatically religious mother hadn't been so whacked, maybe Carrie would have had a shot at a normal life. Instead, she scolded her and threw her in a closet to pray every time Carrie did something she considered "sinful," which was pretty much everything. No wonder Carrie ended up torching her high school and killing her mom.

2. Norma Bates, Norman Bates' mother. After her husband died, Norma raised her son by herself and raised him to believe that women were evil and slutty, unless they were mothers. The two of them became totally wrapped up in their own little world together until Norma met a guy and decided to remarry; Norman gets so jealous that he ends up killing them both and making it look like a suicide. Obviously he was a little warped after that and started wearing his mother's clothes and sharing half of his brain with her persona, but it's really Mrs. Bates' own fault. After all, a boy's best friend is his mother.

3. Pamela Voorhees, Jason Voorhees' mother. All of the best horror movie villains have mommy issues, don't they? Pamela was only 15 when she got pregnant with our favorite hockey masked murderer, and he apparently had water on the brain which caused some deformities. Not wanting him to be made fun of at school, she kept him at home to herself. She took a job at Camp Crystal Lake and brought Jason with her; he wandered into the lake one night to prove he could swim like the other kids could and "drowned." Pam was angry and blamed the counselors and killed a couple of them to exact her revenge, causing the camp to close. It reopened, so she poisoned the water and set some fires, leading to another closing. It reopens again and she kills seven more counselors. She finally meets her match and is decapitated by a particularly feisty counselor, but Jason, who has been alive the whole time, preserves her head and her body and makes a shrine to it. Good parenting, there.

serial4. Beverly Sutphin, Serial Mom. Beverly is so Stepford it's scary. When distressing yet normal things happen, Beverly takes her anger a bit too far "“ for instance, when her daughter gets stood up for a date, Bev slightly overreacts by impaling the would-be suitor with a fireplace poker. One of her son's teachers mentions at a parent-teacher conference that he may be a little too obsessed with horror movies, so Mrs. Sutphin flattens the teacher with her car. Repeatedly. She even bludgeons her neighbor to death with a leg of lamb. She is eventually caught and stands trial but is acquitted thanks to a series of mishaps and some careful planning by Beverly, but it doesn't stop her from killing again: when she sees one of the jurors wearing white shoes after Labor Day, she follows the woman out to a payphone and beats her to death with the phone receiver. Stacy and Clinton would not be proud.

5. Mel Jones, Coraline's mom. Well, Coraline's mom isn't that bad. She's just a little preoccupied and doesn't pay as much attention to her daughter as she should. It's Coraline's mother in an alternate universe "“ her Other Mother "“ that inspires nightmares. She seems like she's all butterflies and light, but that ends when she tells Coraline that she has to sew buttons over her eyes if she wants to continue living in the fun Other world. This is not what the Other Mother wanted to hear and she kind of loses it. Turns out she was responsible for the disappearance of at least three kids over the years; she kept them in her Other world and then locked them in a closet and let them starve to death when she got bored with them. That's a pretty mean mommy, indeed.

6. Olivia Foxworth and Corinne Dollanganger from Flowers in the Attic. This mother-daughter duo conspired to keep four children "“ Corinne's kids "“ locked in an attic for years. Olivia is played by Louise Fletcher, the lady who played Nurse Ratched in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, so you can imagine what a baddie the character is. Corinne has to hide her children because her father is on his deathbed and she won't receive her vast inheritance if he learns that she had children (she married her half-brother and her dad was kind of mad about that. Go figure), and her mother, Olivia, is all-too happy to help. It seems for a while that Olivia is the really rotten one "“ she starves them, pours hot tar on the eldest granddaughter's head because she feared her pretty blonde hair was making her too vain, and kicks the youngest child (among other things). But we learn that Corinne is the one who has been slowly poisoning her children by sprinkling arsenic in with the powdered sugar that tops the cookies they start mysteriously receiving. Yep, pretty sure that poisoning your children so you get to keep your inheritance lands you on the "Worst Moms Ever" list.

tremaine7. Cinderella's stepmother. I bent the rules a little bit, but it's hard to leave Lady Tremaine off of the list. You know the story: she marries Cinderella's dad, and when he dies, she turns Cinderelly into a scullery maid and refuses to acknowledge that she is anything resembling a daughter at all. It's one of the earliest "wicked stepmother" portrayals "“ not the Disney version, of course, but the Perrault fairytale.
8. Mrs. Wormwood, Matilda's mom. Roald Dahl knew how to write mean mothers as well: not only is Matilda's mom extremely dismissive and unimpressed by her child-prodigy daughter, it turns out one of the other characters in the book has a horrible mom as well: Matilda's teacher, Miss Honey, is really the pseudo-daughter of the horrible schoolmistress Miss Trunchbull, who tosses children around like she's competing in the shot put.

9. Joan Crawford is where we get to our exceptions I mentioned above. While Joan Crawford was a real person, obviously, the Joan Crawford depicted in Mommie Dearest may or may not have been exaggerated for the sake of entertainment. Christina Crawford would tell you it wasn't exaggerated at all, but some of Joan's other children and her friends say her temper has been embellished. Nonetheless, the Joan we see in the movie is ruthless and crazy, giving Christina's birthday toys away, chopping off her hair when she sees her wearing makeup, and beats her mercilessly with wire hangers.

10. Wanda Holloway, the alleged Texas Cheerleader-Murdering Mom. Another real lady, this time portrayed in a made-for-TV movie starring Holly Hunter and Beau Bridges. In 1991, this woman from Channelview, Texas, had her brother-in-law hire a hitman to kill the mother of a girl competing for a spot on the cheerleading squad with her daughter. She figured that the girl would be so upset she wouldn't try out for the squad and her daughter would get the open position. The girls were 13 years old at the time.

What bad moms did I miss? I know there are lots of them out there "“ horror movies seem to teem with terrible parents. Share them in the comments!

Original image
Noriyuki Saitoh
arrow
Art
Japanese Artist Crafts Intricate Insects Using Bamboo
Original image
Noriyuki Saitoh

Not everyone finds insects beautiful. Some people think of them as scary, disturbing, or downright disgusting. But when Japanese artist Noriyuki Saitoh looks at a discarded cicada shell or a feeding praying mantis, he sees inspiration for his next creation.

Saitoh’s sculptures, spotted over at Colossal, are crafted by hand from bamboo. He uses the natural material to make some incredibly lifelike pieces. In one example, three wasps perch on a piece of honeycomb. In another, two mating dragonflies create a heart shape with their abdomens.

The figures he creates aren’t meant to be exact replicas of real insects. Rather, Saitoh starts his process with a list of dimensions and allows room for creativity when fine-tuning the appearances. The sense of movement and level of detail he puts into each sculpture is what makes them look so convincing.

You can browse the artist’s work on his website or follow him on social media for more stunning samples from his portfolio.

Bamboo insect.

Bamboo insect.

Bamboo insect.

Bamboo insect.

Bamboo insect.

Bamboo insect.

[h/t Colossal]

All images courtesy of Noriyuki Saitoh.

Original image
Hulton Archive/Getty Images
arrow
History
P.G. Wodehouse's Exile from England
Original image
Hulton Archive/Getty Images

You don’t get more British than Jeeves and Wooster. The P.G. Wodehouse characters are practically synonymous with elevenses and Pimm’s. But in 1947, their creator left England for the U.S. and never looked back.

Pelham Grenville Wodehouse, better known as P.G., was living in northern France and working on his latest Jeeves and Wooster novel, Joy in the Morning, when the Nazis came knocking. They occupied his estate for a period of time before shipping him off to an internment camp in Germany, which he later said he found pretty pleasant:

“Everybody seems to think a German internment camp must be a sort of torture chamber. It was really perfectly normal and ordinary. The camp had an extraordinarily nice commander, and we did all sorts of things, you know. We played cricket, that sort of thing. Of course, I was writing all the time.”

Wodehouse was there for 11 months before being suddenly released to a hotel in Berlin where a man from the German foreign office named Werner Plack was waiting to meet him. Wodehouse was somewhat acquainted with Plack from a stint in Hollywood, so finding him waiting didn't seem out of the ordinary. Plack advised Wodehouse to use his time in the internment camp to his advantage, and suggested writing a radio series about his experiences to be broadcast in America.

As Plack probably suspected, Wodehouse’s natural writing style meant that his broadcasts were light-hearted affairs about playing cricket and writing novels, This didn’t sit too well with the British, who believed Wodehouse was trying to downplay the horrors of the war. The writer was shocked when MI5 subjected him to questioning about the “propaganda” he wrote for the Germans. "I thought that people, hearing the talks, would admire me for having kept cheerful under difficult conditions," he told them in 1944. "I would like to conclude by saying that I never had any intention of assisting the enemy and that I have suffered a great deal of mental pain as the result of my action."

Wodehouse's contemporary George Orwell came to his aid, penning a 1945 an essay called “In Defense of P.G. Wodehouse." Sadly, it didn’t do much to sway public opinion. Though MI5 ultimately decided not to prosecute, it seemed that British citizens had already made up their minds, with some bookstores and libraries even removing all Wodehouse material from their shelves. Seeing the writing on the wall, the author and his wife packed up all of their belongings and moved to New York in 1947. They never went back to England.

But that’s not to say Wodehouse didn’t want to. In 1973, at the age of 91, he expressed interest in returning. “I’d certainly like to, but at my age it’s awfully difficult to get a move on. But I’d like to go back for a visit in the spring. They all seem to want me to go back. The trouble is that I’ve never flown. I suppose that would solve everything."

Unfortunately, he died of a heart attack before he could make the trip. But the author bore no ill will toward his native country. When The Paris Review interviewed Wodehouse in 1973, they asked if he resented the way he was treated by the English. “Oh, no, no, no. Nothing of that sort. The whole thing seems to have blown over now,” he said.  He was right—the Queen bestowed Wodehouse with a knighthood two months before his death, showing that all was forgiven.

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios